What does the man who’s done it all do next?
That’s the question facing Kendrick Lamar as he considers his next musical move in a career that’s seen him take the industry by storm, shake up the rap game right down to its roots, and bizarrely, watch accolade after accolade go to his rivals and contemporaries as he continues to be shut out at awards shows like Grammys.
In a recent, reflective post on Twitter, Top Dawg Entertainment president Punch reminisced about the last time Kendrick faced such precipitous decision, after the release of his dense, autobiographical debut, Good Kid, MAAD City, pondering a piece of advice from reigning rap GOAT Jay-Z, given ahead of Kendrick’s masterful follow-up, To Pimp A Butterfly.
“I had a conversation with Jay-Z during the process of To Pimp A Butterfly,” he wrote. “I told him, ‘We are about to drop this album that’s going to challenge and possibly piss off our fan base.’ He said, “Good! Do it now, and they’ll never be able to put ya’ll in a box.’ He was right.”
It seems he really was right. Since then, Kendrick’s fans have learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to the Compton iconoclast. He does what he wants when he wants how he wants. His catalog, surprisingly, is one of the most diverse, eclectic, and broad of any in modern rap — he’s basically done every kind of an album you could possibly think of within the genre of rap.
He isn’t done yet either — earlier this month, he conspicuously updated his Twitter profile pic and header to pitch black. The last time did this, he gave the world DAMN. just a month later. If it can be assumed that he’s going to release something soon, the remaining question is this: What’s left for him to do?